• Priyanka Roy

What is Business Intelligence?

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Business Intelligence is a term that is casually used these days, anyone and everyone in a workplace has a tip or two to share about BI – not necessarily the right one. “BI is dashboards” “BI is reporting” “BI is all the cool stuff and the fancy visuals” “BI is Big Data” Each of the above phrases are not wrong, but they are not entirely correct.

With all due credit to Wikipedia, here’s the definition of BI according to it “Business intelligence (BI) is the set of techniques and tools for the transformation of raw data into meaningful and useful information for business analysis purposes. BI technologies are capable of handling large amounts of unstructured data to help identify, develop and otherwise create new strategic business opportunities.”

I often use the following definition to describe BI to my fellow workers – “BI is all about the 4 R’s, right data to the right person at the right time in the right format” (I learnt the last R very recently and decided to keep it).

This definition essentially covers everything:

Right Data – structured or unstructured data, data from ERP, CRM, databases, blogs, mails, excel, Facebook, Twitter (basically any source possible)

Right Person the viewer of a BI deliverable could be anyone sitting in the 3 layers of an organisational pyramid i.e. Strategic, Tactical and Operational. To make it simple, he/she could be a C-suite exec, a department manager or an analyst.

Right Time – daily, weekly, monthly and at times near-real time.

Right Format  – on a desktop, on a tablet, on a mobile device, embedded in a portal, via email, or just on a shared repository

Thank you for reading.

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